AHEAD: Association for Higher Education Access & Disability
Creating inclusive environments in education & employment for people with disabilities.


Release of Reasonable Accommodations in FET Research

AHEAD, in collaboration with Education and Training Boards Ireland (ETBI), are delighted to release the results of a SOLAS-funded scoping survey on the provision of Reasonable Accommodations in FET.

The primary objective of this research was to gain insight from the 16 Education and Training Boards (ETBs) and colleges/centres in their regions on current policies, practices, and challenges regarding the provision of reasonable accommodations for learners with disabilities. The outcomes of the research are intended to support greater consistency and quality in the provision of reasonable accommodations, supporting the Further Education and Training (FET) Strategy goal of providing consistent learner support, (SOLAS, 2020a). Outcomes will be fed as recommendations to ETBs and relevant state agencies, and inform a proposed body of work by AHEAD, with support from ETBI, to develop resources and training for the sector.

Lindsay Malone, Director of FET for Waterford Wexford Education and Training Board (WWETB) and Chair of the ETBI Inclusion Strategy Group commented:

“The ETB sector welcomes this important research on state of play on the provision of disability supports in FET. While it highlights a general culture of inclusion in FET, it also shows that there are significant areas of improvement in the system to focus on in the years ahead, building on the good progress achieved in a range of areas.”

CEO of AHEAD Dara Ryder added:

“Everywhere I go in FET, I see practitioners going the extra mile to support disabled learners, but often because of structural barriers in the system, they are operating with one hand tied behind their back. With the next FET Strategy currently in development, the timing is right to look at a strategic push to address these issues, and ensure consistent and quality support services are facilitated by all levels of the system. It is AHEAD’s hope that this report can inform policy making and funding provision, to ensure that in years to come, disabled learners can experience the same levels of quality support regardless of the region they live in, or the programme type they attend.”

The report identifies a general culture of inclusion in FET, and notable pockets of good practice in disability support, but also finds significant structural gaps and barriers to the provision of quality, consistent support in the areas of:

  • Reasonable Accommodation Policies
  • System Funding of Supports
  • Communication/Visibility of Available Support Services
  • Staffing and Staff Training Concerning Disability Supports
  • Criteria for Access to Supports

View the Reasonable Accommodations in FET Report

Since the finalising of the report, AHEAD, ETBI and SOLAS have met to discuss the national level recommendations and agreed a series of actions to make progress on a number of the recommendations.

Additionally, AHEAD and ETBI are collaborating to devise a working group to feed back on the development of practical outputs to support ETBs to implement the ETB level recommendations, such as a tool to self-review reasonable accommodation polices, a short self-directed training module, and a maturity model for FET Disability Support Services.

Development of these resources is already in the planning stage, and it is expected that outputs arising will be released in the first half of 2025.

View the Reasonable Accommodations in FET Report


The core funding received by AHEAD for its further education activities on fostering inclusion is provided by SOLAS.

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Creating Inclusive Environments in Education and Employment for People with Disabilities

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